DVDs were, without a doubt, an upgrade over VHS. They made the best movies easier to distribute, cheaper to buy, with vastly improved sound and image quality. Some filmmakers weren’t convinced of the longevity in the discs, though, and one belief held by Oliver Stone irritated William Friedkin.
An interview from MovieWeb states that Stone believed DVDs could only last ten years. Friedkin, ever a brutally honest subject, made clear exactly what he thought of that. “How the fuck does he know?” he says first, before adding: “He is full of shit. Has anyone been able to prove that yet? Where’s the proof?”
To be fair to Stone, the lifespan of DVDs, and any disc media, is generally between ten and 30 years, depending on how well you take care of them. Cheaper DVDs and CDs can be between five and ten years, especially CD-Rs and DVD-Rs. At this point, in 2010, mass-market DVDs were still young enough that it seemed plausible they could all degrade and we’d all be stuck with unplayable discs in a decade’s time.
The first couple of years worth of DVD releases did suffer this, rotting to the point they were almost useless. Thankfully, this hasn’t totally been the case, and the market has since moved on to Blu-ray and 4K.
Speaking of Blu-ray, Friedkin, who directed classic horror movie The Exorcist, believe that to be the ideal way for viewers at home to experience film. “Fuck 3D! The Blu-ray is the real cinematech of world cinema. That’s how it’s being preserved,” he says. “All of these guys that are trying to preserve 35mm negatives? They are wasting their time. There are better ways to see and project this stuff now. It’s called digital.”
We wonder what Friedkin makes of streaming services and on-demand entertainment. Better still, what does Stone think? That’s one conversation we’d like to hear.